MeknesMiddle Atlas region of Morocco.
By trainMeknes is on the Fès-Rabat railway line and has two train stations. The smaller one called is more centrally located in the new town (ville nouvelle), while the bigger is a bit further east.
Meknes is connected by train to most major cities like Marrakech (6½ hr, 174 dirham), Tangier (3½–4½ hr, 85 dirham), Rabat (2¼ hr, 69 dirham), Casablanca (3¼ hr), Fes (40 min, 20 dirham) or Oujda (6 hr, 130 dirham). Specific times and prices can be found on the website of the Moroccan National Office for Railways.
Gare RoutièreIt is co-located with the main grand taxi station. Buses from the bus station that go east (e.g. Fez 13-15 dirham) or northwards (e.g. Volubilis bus 15 for 7 dirham) go north and northeast around the Medina from where you can also catch any such bus. E.g. bus 15 goes between here and Volubilis.
CTM Bus StationA brand new station, near Meknes train station (east of the new town).
There are buses to Meknès from almost anywhere in Morocco, including Agadir (11 hr; 200-230 dirham), Casablanca (5 hr; 80-90 dirham), Chefchaouen (5½ hrs; 60-80 dirham), Erfoud (10 hr, 100-110 dirham), Fez (1 hr; 13-15 dirham), Marrakech (9 hr; 140-160 dirham), Rabat (3½ hr; 50-60 dirham) and Tangier (6 hr, 80-90 dirham).
By grand taxiGrand taxis arrive and leave from several places, the most popular being El-Amir Abdelkader train station. Opposite the road of the Institute Francais is also a quite large taxi rank.
Grands Taxis (interurbain)
Grand taxi stand 2to Volubilis.
By carMeknès is on Autoroute 2 (Rabat-Fès), which continues further east on N6 to Oujda.
Road N13 goes over the mountain range to Tetouan and Tangier or Ceuta to the north, in the northbound direction it goes to Azrou and At-Rachida.
Petit taxis (small blue cars of Fiat Uno or Peugeot 205 brands) abound, as well as an efficient and comprehensive, if cramped local bus service. The minimum cost for a petit taxi is 5 dirham (the price is calculated based on 1.40 dirham + 0.20 dirham/100 m but you should expect a surcharge of 50% after 20:00), while the bus is slightly cheaper. Buses are, however, quite difficult to navigate because they are, in the majority of cases, very crowded and operate to transport people between agglomerations and the ville nouvelle and Medina.
The ville nouvelle (new town), which is known as Hamrya in Arabic, is easily navigated on foot, as is the medina. The two sides of town are connected by a bridge over the dry Oued Boufekrane (river), with a McDonald's placed conveniently in between for weary (or wary!) travelers.
Hamrya is a new town with all entertainment facilities, You can find all what you need there, but there is no monuments or things to see except if you like to chat with people. Medina is the other side is the ancient Meknes and it contains all the monuments of this wonderful city.
Bab MansourBab means "gate" or "door" in Arabic, and Bab Mansour is the largest and most striking of Meknes' many gates (27 gates). It's directly across from Lahdim Square, the medina's main square. The gate is nowadays used for art exhibitions.
Lahdim SquareRedone with new brickwork, this square once rivaled Djemaa el Fna in Marrakech but is now significantly less exciting (though there are a few nice cafés and snack spots in which to people-watch).
Heri es-SouaniYou can catch a glimpse of the grandeur of Moulay Ismail at these enormous granaries and horse stables, and sit beside the large Agdal Basin.
Meknes Royal Golf CourseThe former palace gardens, now converted into a golf course. This place is absolutely marvelous. The gardens are beautifully kept and it is entirely surrounded by palace walls. It is open to the public. There is also a public café on the grounds. It's possible to eat on the terrace overlooking the course but you need to book in advance.
Medersa Bou InaniaA beautiful Qur'anic school; you can explore all floors including the roof.
Mausoleum of Moulay IsmailAlthough non-Muslims are not permitted to enter, they can view the tombs, which hold the body of Moulay Ismail and other relatives, from the entrance. Closed for renovation as of Mar 2019.
Prison KaraA huge underground prison where Moulay Ismail allegedly kept prisoners. A little pricey for basically just some empty halls underground.
Palais Al-MansourHalf-destroyed palace built in 17th century to be king's summer residence.
Agdal BasinBasin built at the time of Ismail Moulay in the imperial city, northwest of the granaries.
Mausoleum of Sidi ben AïssaClosed to non-Muslims.
Al masjid AlAdamMeknes' largest and oldest standing mosque (note: Non-Muslims are not permitted to enter).
Dar Jamai MuseumThis old palace, now a museum, is at the back of Place Hedim. It now houses the Museum of Moroccan Arts, which is exhibits artifacts, jewels, and old copies of the Qur'an. Dar Jamai is a gorgeous museum with exqusite gardens on the outside. Closed for renovation as of Feb 2018.
Meknes MuseumSmall museum in an old mansion.
Public swimming poolThere is a very popular public swimming pool between the medina and the new city, on a hot day it's a godsend.
Be sure to bargain! Don't accept the shopkeeper's first offer - not only does it ruin it for tourists who come after you, but it also goes against Moroccan custom. The easiest way to bargain, particularly without knowledge of French or Arabic, is to offer exactly half of the given price (or 75% for expensive or large-scale items). From there, the shopkeeper will go down a bit; you are expected to raise your price slowly until you come to an agreement.
If you can't agree on a price, try walking out of the store - this will generally lower the price significantly. And try not to be too stingy - the value of an item is your appreciation of it, not its ticket price.
Ville NouvelleThere are dozens of restaurants and snack bars lining the main road, Rue Antsirape offering the staples of harira, tagine, cous cous and of course rotisserie chicken. A few restaurants on Rue Ghana, just off Rue Antsirabi, are popular with travellers and offer 40-dirham set menus.
- Le Pub, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until midnight. Excellent, if slightly experimental, takes on French cuisine. Reliable pizza and alcohol license. 50-120 dirham.
- Athenos, Avenue Mohammed V. Open for lunch only. Delicious Moroccan staples, such as tajine, as well as fabulous desserts. 25-70 dirham.
- Mo Di Niro, Rue Antsirabé. Open daily until midnight. Popular with Meknassi teenagers, this restaurant serves good American-style burgers, pizza and pasta dishes. 20-100 dirham.
- La Fine Bouche, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until 10:00. Translating as "The good mouth," this hole-in-the-wall serves up delicious chawarma and other specialties. 15-50 dirham.
- Ibis Hotel. Open daily until midnight. This chain hotel has a decent French-inspired menu, but the real draw is that they serve alcohol. 50-150 dirham.
- Label' Gallery. Restaurants vary; some open past midnight. The closest thing Meknes has to a shopping mall, this food court is the only place to find international cuisine, with Mexican, American, Thai, and Lebanese all on the menu. Prices vary greatly.
- Restaurant Marhaba: the most popular Meknassi restaurant, offers local menu of Ma'aqouda and Harira.
Les Colliers de Colombeaddress: 67 Rue DribaDelicious Moroccan staples, including the must-try pastilla.
- The market near the main place in the medina (at the Bab El-Mansur) has incredible fresh products. Lots of different kinds of olives, sweets, pickles, etc.
- Le Pub, Avenue Allal Ben Abdellah. Open daily until midnight. One of the only places in Meknes where women will feel comfortable finding a drink, this lively pub has two floors; the bottom is where the music and "scene" happens. 15-45 dirham bottle beers only, 50 dirham cocktails (Try the local wines; Guerrouane and Amazir are particularly tasty. Shisha (hookah tobacco) costs 50 dirham).
- Novelty, Top of Rue de Paris. Open daily until midnight. This renovated pub is rumored to be owned by Italians, which would explain the lovely wood decor. It's also the only place in Meknes to drink draught beer. 15-45 dirham draft or bottle beers, 50 dirham cocktails (Wine is served by the bottle only).
Most budget hotels are along Rue Rouamzine, just before the medina. Hotel Maroc and Hotel Regina are two such choices. Hotel Regina is very dirty and stinky, but very cheap.
address: Boulvard Okba Ben NafiiWedged between the medina and ville nouvelle, just two doors down from the much swankier and well known Hotel Transatlantique. In the new city, it's 1½ km from the closest medina gate; in fact it's not really near anything and you loose whatever you save staying here on a taxi (8 dirham) coming or going. For the same price, Hostel Maroc is better. They do let anyone use the shower for 7 dirham though..
Camping AgdalThis is the choice if you're on a budget or brought your own transport or camper. The campsite is quite nice. It even has grass! It is about 2 km (about 20–30 minutes on foot) from the city centre right next to the Agdal basin and Heri es-Souani. If you don't feel like walking; taxies to the medina shouldn't cost more than between 5 and 10 dirham and about 15 to 20 to the el-Emir Abdelkader railway station. If you arrive by train, it's more convenient to stay in the town centre (ville nouvelle or medina). Though if you're near the El-Emir Abdelkader railwaystation you're about as far off from the Medina as you would be if at the campsite.
Hotel Majesticphone: +212 035522035address: 19 Avenue Mohammed VRenovated, the Majestic offers a lovely garden as well as clean and nice rooms overlooking the most busy avenue in Meknes. 180-210 dirham including a simple breakfast. Continue straight ahead when you exit the train station, and the hotel will be on your left hand side after approximately 100 metres. You will see a sign directing to the hotel after less than 50 m. But watch out! Clients have complained about theft in this hotel.
address: 11, Derb Elkatib, Kabet Souk, ToutaGuest house in the old Medina with 14 rooms and a beautiful terrace.
phone: +212 535 460 109address: near the Place Lehdim, 20 Rue Lalla Aicha AdouyaBeautiful guest house in the old city (Medina) with 7 rooms.
phone: +212 535 531 418address: 20 db Lalla Sti HennouGuest house in the old Medina with 12 rooms and a beautiful terrace.
phone: +212 55 558 590A restored old palace/riad in the medina right by a palace wall. Maison d'hotes - restaurant.
phone: +212 64 10 78 625address: 17, Derb ain el anboub et Derb Lalla Aicha Adouia - Quartier Hammam JdidA very nice guest house - Bed & Breakfast - restaurant. A traditional restored old palace/riad in the old medina.
phone: +212 035554541address: 4 TiberbarineThe first riad to open in Meknes, its owners, and most of the staff, speak English and are extraordinarily helpful in arranging tours and the like. The roof terrace overlooks Place Hedim and the restaurant is open for non-guests as well.
phone: +212 35515020address: 3 Rue Cherif Al IdrissiOpen daily. This renovated hotel offers a restaurant, nightclub and English-style bar.
phone: +212 35530840 or +212 76987717address: Bab AissiOpen daily. A traditional home in the heart of the medina. Great view of El-Hedim square. 600 dirham for large suites with private bathroom (breakfast included).
phone: +212 535559878 or +212 675 71 69 17address: 6 Derb Ain SefliThis beautifully restored riad is on the edge of the medina (overlooks the magnificent "Lahboul Gardens"). Run by an English and Moroccan couple, this family guest house serves delicious home-made food.
phone: +212-55514146address: Boulevard Al MassiraMeknes' most beautiful hotel includes a nightclub, bar, restaurant, conference center, and a gorgeous swimming pool.